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Friday, May 19, 2017

Master of None Season 2

Here at Disco Vinyl we don't really talk about t.v. but sometimes you've just got to give credit when credit's due.

The new season of Master of None is not only set in Italy but the second episode is jam-packed with Italo Disco.

Aziz Ansari is incredibly likeable and his enthusiasm for my country makes me feel like 20 years ago I made the right move when I said bye bye to America and re-located to Italy.

There is even a soundtrack CD!  FIND IT HERE

Dolce Vita peaked at #10 on the Italian pop charts in 1983.  It is one of the most beloved pop-italo disco songs of the genre.

Dolce Vita Zip

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Adolf Stern's 1979 italo disco double A side disco dream

Rare and super tasty.  The only thing I wish it that I would have had the pleasure to dance to this one. A super early example of italo disco.  Highly collectible!


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Change Your Mind Sharpe & Numan

Gary Numan started out in 1977 as a punk rock artist in the group Mean Street but that didn't work out for him.  Apparently he was too arty and creative for them.

Luckily he kept plugging on and his next venture Tubeway Army was hugely successful.  In fact that had a hugely influential number 1 hit in the U.K. with Are Friends Electric?  Then Gary went solo and had a huge international hit with Cars.  It came to be a major symbol of the new wave scene and even hit the Top 10 in the states.

In the U.K. he continued to come up with hits but in the U.S. he remained a one hit wonder.  By 1985 he teamed up with Bill Sharpe and they released a few Synth Pop classics including Change Your Mind which I offer you here.  It was a song that I loved very much at the time though it really didn't cross-over much.  In my towns college radio station WXCI it was on heavy rotation so I got to enjoy it often.

Gary Numan ended up being quite prolific.  There was even a live release in 2016 when he played the 02 Forum in London.  In 2002 the Sugababes sampled Are Friends Electric? and had a number 1 hit in the U.K. and he was brought to a whole new audience.

Speaking of current he's got a song on the Ghost in the Shell soundtrack too.

A few Rah Band gems, not just Clouds Across the Moon

This is an updated post containing more songs then the previous one.
As unusual an act as was Richard Hewson's Rah Band they hit pay dirt twice.  Both The Crunch in 1977 and Clouds across the Moon in 1985 made it to #6 on the U.K. pop charts.  The funny thing is some of their tunes are pure kitsch while others are some serious music making.

But for me there is no forgetting Messages from the Stars.  Grab my zip to enjoy these fun songs.

Richard Hewson their leader had other disco hits as Key West and the Richard Hewson Orchestra.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Raw Silk

Though Raw Silk only had two charted dance hits, they were both wonderful.  True Paradise Garage classics.  A place where disco still reigned well into the 80's.  Disco never died at The Paradise Garage and The Saint.

Do it to the Music made it to #5 on the U.S. dance chart while Just in Time peaked at #40.  They did however both have impact on the dance floors that matter.  The act was composed of Jessica Cleaves, Sybil Thomas, Tenita Jordan a couple of whom had been members of the seminal funky disco band Crown Heights Affair.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Gino Soccio

I've been a huge Gino Soccio fan since 1979.  His string of disco hits are all considered classics now. I feel an affinity to him too since he's an Italo Canadian like I am an Italo American.

As I'm especially drawn to the space disco sound his tunes many of which were in this vein with the added joy of super disco diva vocals made him a favorite.

His two biggest disco hits on the Billboard dance charts, Dancer his debut maxi single in 1979 and Try it Out in 1981 both remained at the top for six weeks making them a couple of the biggest disco records of their respective years.  It's Alright in 1982 managed to stay at #2 for five weeks and was also a major success.  His association with the soul singer Erma Shaw proved to be quite fruitful and brought about some of his best collaborations.

Gino though a huge disco star really didn't get to receive the kudos of a major cross-over to pop hit.  Though Dancer and Try it Out did chart on the R & B charts which is quite a feat in itself, for a white Canadian.  He was also the first artist signed to Ray Caviano's seminal Warner Brothers disco imprint label RFC.  A label which was sort of just coming up as the disco movement was nearing it's end.  Which Gino believes was orchestrated by the rock department guys who were jealous and hateful about the sound and it's aficionado's who were often minorities or gay.

Gino Soccio was also the man behind Kebekelektrik (a huge Paradise Garage record) and Witch Queen two other acts which scored huge disco hits and he brought some disco success to fellow Montreal native Karen Silver.  He was pretty prolific for a disco artist with four full length albums in his three years of charting.  There were also a few singles which weren't on any album.

In an interview with Wresch Dawidjan back in ’78, Gino commented, “The reason I went over to Disco was that it seemed to be the only type of music where I could really be free. There are no limits to what you can do with disco.”  Wresch would later go on to own a very popular dance music record store, 12 inch Dance Music in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. which happened to be on P street in the middle of the gay neighborhood.  I spent a lot of money in that store, and my buddy at the time Matt Drudge worshiped the guy and used to spend lots of time hanging out and shooting the breeze with the employees there.

A fabulous image is Gino Socio at Studio 54.  

His last single release Human Nature from 1985 flopped and Gino Soccio was deeply disappointed.  He basically decided to drop out of the scene altogether.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Paris Latino

Que bueno que rico que lindo
Paris Latino
Que bueno que rico que lindo
Paris Latino
Bandolero rock
Bandolero shock
Bandolero rock
Bandolero shock

Paris Latino was just one of those hits that you had to sing along to.  In 1983 in Europe it was everywhere.  In Italy it was the 11th biggest record of the year peaking at #2.

In the U.S. it was picked up by Sire, Seymour Stein's seminal synth-pop and new wave label. 

Bandolero a French act featured a pair of brothers and another guy.  They were basically one-hit wonders.  But like Disco Duck it's one of those one hit wonder songs that are absolutely unforgettable.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cheryl Lynn was a Super Talent

From her discovery on the Gong Show, national touring member of The Wiz cast, to the background vocals she did for Toto, Cheryl Lynn remained a severely under-rated talent.  Oh the notes she could hit (a 4.4 octave vocal range)!  You gotta know she came from the church choir.

After earning a perfect 30 on The Gong Show for her rendition of "You are so Beautiful" she had the record companies come calling.  But that doesn't mean that she was able to become the superstar that she deserved to become.

I'm gonna have to say she suffered from the big girl syndrome, like Patti Austin, Martha Wash, Randy Crawford and many other huge talents.  Record companies did not know how to market them and ended up marginalizing the careers of many a full-bodied woman.  Adele has had the last laugh by becoming the biggest female vocalist of our time, but back then when Cheryl was releasing super high quality singles it wasn't easy.

Though her only huge pop hit was her debut single "Got to be Real" immortalized in the film Paris is Burning.  It rode up the U.S. pop charts peaking at #12 and was the first of two #1 hits on the R and B charts.  It took until 1984 with Encore for her to hit the peak again.  1981's smash "Shake it Up Tonight" produced by Ray Parker Jr. was another of her most memorable hits.  It also proved her best showing on the Billboard dance chart peaking at #5.

Star Love from her debut album went on to be a classic at The Saint.  I think of that one as a real Robbie Leslie record.  While You Saved my Day is a legendary gospel tinged disco record that didn't get much play and was brought to  my attention on a wonderful Frankie Knuckles compilation.  It went on to become my very favorite Cheryl Lynn song.

Great Zip of Cheryl

On her 9 albums she worked with a lot of talents including Jimmy Jam and Terry lewis, Ray Parker Jr. Teddy Riley and Luther Vandross to name a few.  She also sang background vocals or duets with the likes of Luther Vandross, Richard Marx and Teddy Riley.  If this World were Mine her duet with Luther Vandross peaked at #4 on the R
and B charts in 1982.

To me she's the quintessential underdog.  9 album releases and if you asked the typical person if they've ever heard of her they'd probably say they hadn't.  She deserves so much more.  She's a true songbird of legendary status like the Gwen Guthrie's, the Minnie Riperton's and the Patti Austin's.  They may not have had the hits but they got the respect, at least in the industry.

By 1990 she no longer hit the charts again, but people like me remember her fondly and hold her in the highest esteem.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Columbus Circle If you read my mind

Paradise Garage classic If you read my Mind by Columbus Circle, was actually a one man does all act.  His name is Scott Yahney and weren't the crowds shocked when they discovered he was a white man!  Nevertheless the record went on to become a boogie favorite a nice mesh of the Synth Pop sound popular at the time mixed with the ass shakeable disco that was still proving influential and well-loved in many a club.

I am providing this post by permission of his brother the illustrious DJ Jeff Yahney.  Here he is pictured with industry legends DJ Jay Negron and Andrew Klein.

There was even a special unreleased mix done by Scott himself.  The label at the time insisted it be mixed by a famous DJ remixer and they brought in Tee Scott of Better Days and Zanzibar.  

It proved to be a Billboard Dance Chart hit shooting all the way up to #10 in 1982.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

LIFE WITH YOU an italo disco masterpiece

I'm posting this again because I'm adding the instrumental.  It's just as eerie and italo disco magic as the vocal version.
From the intro. which is clearly inspired by Trans Europe Express to every moody italo disco beat The Expansives Life With You, Leader Records Italy 1982 is just the type of dance record that I give ten's across the board.  So sublime it's impossible for me to listen to it only once but on repeat over and over again.

Anybody with a copy knows that they are sitting on gold, just like Sensitive's Driving the collectors never give up on trying to track this one down.
Francesco Rago has been part of a few of my favorite italo disco acts including lectric workers, cariocas, atelier folie, message from future and Wanexa.  His partner GianLuigi Farina was in the same acts and even had a solo 12 inch with Sailing in a dreamboat listed as Sola Farina which was released in 1984.

Life With You
Life With You instrumental

Friday, March 3, 2017


Brooklyn trio Newcleus were the definitive Electro act.  Though they only released two full albums.  They had a nice string of seminal electro/freestyle hits. Block party favorites they originally started in 1977 as Jam-On Productions.

I'm surprised that I haven't blogged about them before because I was so into them.  Their sound really touched my soul.  I'm kind of surprised that they weren't much huger chart successes then they were because it seemed to me that their music was so ever-present at the time.  The idea that they had to speed their vocals to resemble the Chipmunks in parts was definitely part of the magic.  Their biggest pop hit "Jam on It" took it up to #56 on the U.S. Top 100.  Though several of their songs made the R and B Top 40.

I also think that their sound has held up very well.  It certainly makes me want to shake my tail in 2017.

Their first release Jam on Revenge was in 1983 which I've mentioned before is the legendary year for me and my going to the disco youth.  Their sound certainly mixed in very well with the Italo Disco which I hold so close to my heart and for which most of my blog is dedicated.

But with a vocoder and Jonathan Fearing on the mix how could they go wrong anyway?

Their songs have also been used in a few video games including Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX, Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 2 and DJ Hero 2, the latter even featured a newly re-recorded version.

By the mid 80's they still had a few releases but their sound was sort of on the decline as that hot new genre "house music" was making for the greatest impact on the dance floors.  I will thank my friend DJ Chris Baron for turning me on to Cyborg Dance and Space is the Place.  He even did a genius edit of Cyborg Dance.  In 1985 I was in D.C. and heard an awful lot of Hi Nrg and early House so progressive Electro like this wasn't on my radar and my trips to New York City were few and far between because I was studying.

Cyborg Dance and Space is the Place
The debut single Jam on Revenge

I have to admit I also love this sound because it reminds me of Shaun of the Dead, a film I really love and featured Electro obsessed characters.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Asha Puthli Music Machine (Dedication to Studio 54)

Asha Puthli is from Bombay, India and has had many releases.  In 1976 she had a huge international hit with The Devil is Loose.  But lately I've been obsessing over a 1979 twelve inch.  It's the B side of I'm Gonna Dance called Music Machine.

Apparently it was dedicated to Studio 54.  Can't say for sure whether it was a favorite there though.